18 year old Sol Pais threatens Denver schools, commits suicide

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On Tuesday (4/16/19), Denver area schools went on lockdown in response to an FBI announcement that an 18 year old girl from Florida named Sol Pais had arrived in Colorado and threatened an attack on Columbine High School on the 20th anniversary of the shooting there that left 13 students and teachers dead.

Pais was believed to be “infatuated” with the Columbine shooter, and frequently expressed her obsession with guns and other weaponry. She wrote in journal entries which  she seemingly scanned and uploaded to a currently unnamed website of feeling separate from the rest of humanity. She came to Colorado and purchased a shotgun, allegedly planning to attack Columbine and potentially other schools in the area, however she was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted shotgun wound.

This incident has served to highlight the culture of fear dominating American schools.  The total shutdown of all schools in DPS shows the fear instilled in our society through several past events.  Because of previous shootings, every report is taken completely seriously, in order to ensure student safety. The cancellation of schools is a good thing, as this means that the administration takes student safety seriously.

Even now, little is known of the would-be shooter. Aside from the limited information gleaned from her journal entries, we know little of her motivations, or what pushed her from isolation to violence. With her death, it seems the case is closed and that we are expected to forget about this girl, dismissing her as another psycho on the loose.

But there are too many loose ends, too many questions unanswered. How was Pais, a documented threat, allowed to travel to Colorado on the anniversary of Columbine and purchase a shotgun? Why was the FBI able to issue a warning about her, but not stop her at the airport? All of this seems like a massive mismanagement of resources.

Pais was obviously unhinged, so her plan therefore wasn’t very effective.  Because of this, she ended up committing suicide, and therefore ending the search for her.  The overall scare was a great representation of the fear instilled in Americans from recent and past school shootings.  No one wants to see more shootings occur, and the response by our school district really shows that DPS has safety concerns in mind.   

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